"Voyage Of The Damned"

By Lord Randall

After a genuinely cinematic intro, you'd think IRON FIRE would slam into one of their well-documented speed-driven trad metal firestorms. And in the case of 'Enter Oblivion OJ-666', you'd be correct - yet only halfway. Processed vocals from the otherwise reliable Martin Steene blend with the man's natural midrange, giving the 
whole thing a slapstick EDGUY feel, and turning me off from the get go. Thankfully,
‘Taken’ redeems the quartet, focusing more on groove than the prior histrionics, a 
solid, dependable power metal number, yet with an appreciated darkness often missing from this style. ‘Slaughter Of Souls’ finds me eating my words, IRON FIRE dumbing down their attack from simply groove-based to downright glam rock (and not the good kind either). Change the lyrics, this could be an outtake from The Final Countdown era of EUROPE, and it’s never enjoyable to see a good band go this bad this soon into an album.

After a lackluster and drowsy ‘Leviathan’, ‘The Final Odyssey’ comes out of nowhere, a ballad in the truest sense of the word, upping the quality by leagues. 
‘Ten Years In Space’ feels like ten years in coma, not boding well for the 10+ minute title track. Well, here’s where I eat a big, steaming plate of crow, because ‘Voyage Of The Damned’ is everything I like about traditional power metal – involved, majestic and interesting to the listener instead of just the band. I wouldn’t call it “epic” by any stretch, but enjoyable, yes. Boredom rears its hydra-like head in ‘Dreams Of The Dead Moon’, Steene sounding practically laughable when he attempts to snarl, more like Klaus Meine with his jaw wired shut than anything truly menacing.

With certain points (the title track, ‘The Final Odyssey’) showing that IRON FIRE does have it in them to make solid thematic rock when they want to; my question is why they decided not to this time.